It seems like every year there is an influx of new teams seeking to get in on the glory, prestige and big money of being in the NASCAR Cup Series. The 2022 season will be no exception. However, it is beginning to look like this year’s crop of newcomers might just be a cut above that of the previous couple of seasons, with some exciting new contenders entering the fray.
There are 4 new, expanded or returning race teams in the NASCAR 2022, Kaulig Racing have moved from Xfinity. Petty GMS Motorsports has two cars driven by Ty Dillon and Erik jones, Trackhouse racing have 2 drivers and 23xi owned by Michael Jorden and Denny Hamlin have two cars driven by Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch.
But why is this year shaping up to be one in which we might just see the advent of future championship teams? Especially with the cost of charters going for almost double what they did just a few years ago?
Not to mention the fact that NASCAR is rolling out the all-new gen-7 car this year – a car which is much more of a departure than anything that has come before in the seven decades plus history of stock car racing? The answer might be found in having a look at the new teams themselves.
NASCAR Cup Teams: Kaulig Racing
After a couple of false starts during the last few seasons, Kaulig Racing seems poised to finally make a proper debut in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series campaign. The team has been stout in the Xfinity Series in recent seasons, but the move up to Cup is a whole different ballgame.
However, Kaulig Racing does already have a win under its belt with A.J. Allmendinger at the 2021 event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield road course. It was only the team’s 7th race. Only time will tell if that victory was just a fluke or a sign of things to come.
Having purchased both charters from Spire Motorsports, Kaulig Racing will be a two-car operation moving forward. The team will run Chevrolet Camaros as it did previously. One of its two cars will be the no. 31, driven by Justin Haley, with crew chief (and former Camping World Truck Series driver) Trent Owens on board.
It will be sponsored by LeafFilter Gutter Protection. ECR will supply the engines for Kaulig Racings cars.
The team’s second car will run the no.16. Matt Swiderski will be the crew chief. Driver duties will be split between A.J. Allmendinger (for 16 races), Noah Gragson (14 races), and 2021 Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric (8 races).
Sponsorship will be covered by CURE Token for Allmendinger, ChevyLiners.com for Hemric, and for Gragson by Poppy Bank, Heritage Pool Supply Group, and South Point Hotel & Casino.
NASCAR Cup Teams: Petty GMS Motorsports
While the Petty name is hardly new to NASCAR, this most iconic of racing teams returns in an all-new incarnation for the 2022 season. It came as quite a shock to many when Petty Motorsports was bought following the conclusion of the 2021 season. However, the Pettys aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, with their name still on the team.
The buyer of the former Petty Motorsports (along with both its charters) was Maurice Gallagher Jr., CEO of Allegiant Airlines, whose son Spencer Gallagher, a former driver who competed in all three upper-tier series, is also listed as a team owner.
The team fields the no. 42 (Ty Dillon) and 43 (Erik Jones) Chevrolet Camaros and has a technical partnership with Richard Childress Racing, owned by Dillon’s grandfather. The partnership is one that had been in existence since the 2018 season.
GMS has a rather lengthy history beginning with what is now the ARCA Menards East Series. The team gradually moved up to the Camping World Truck Series and won two drivers’ championships in 2016 with Johnny Sauter and again in 2020 with Sheldon Creed.
The team also fielded cars in Xfinity for several seasons, scoring a single victory in 2018 at Talladega with Spencer Gallagher. The GMS teams often ran the number 23 in honor of its first driver in the ARCA Menards East Series, Spencer Clark, who was tragically killed in a traffic accident in 2006.
NASCAR Cup Teams: Trackhouse Racing
Trackhouse is another new name to the NASCAR garage. It is co-owned by former sports car driver Justin Marks and Grammy award-winning hip hop artist Armando Christian Perez, known professionally as “Pitbull.”
The Trackhouse team started life as essentially the no.95 Leavine Family Racing team after Marks acquired the team from owners Bob and Sharon Leavine. After Perez assumed an ownership role in the team, it was later announced that Trackhouse would purchase all assets from the outgoing Chip Ganassi Racing along with both its charters.
While the team did field the no.99 with Daniel Suarez in 2021, the 2022 season will mark the first for the team’s current iteration, with Suarez returning in the no.99 car and crew chief Travis Mack, with sponsors throughout the season including CommScope, Freeway Insurance, and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Ross Chastain will essentially switch cars from his Ganassi days, moving to the no. 1. The crew chief will be Phil Surgen. The car will be sponsored alternately by AdventHealth, Clover, Moose Fraternity, Howler Head Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Casa Del Sol Tequila, and the ACM Awards. Trackhouse will again field Chevrolet Camaros with engines supplied by ECR.
NASCAR Cup Teams: 23XI’s New Team
The partnership between Denny Hamlin and basketball legend Michael Jordan with the 23Xi teams has been a mild success so far, with a history-making win for Bubba Wallace (not to mention coming painfully close to winning the Daytona 500).
The 2022 season sees the addition of a second car with champion driver Kurt Busch in the no. 45 Toyota Camrys. Adding a great deal of experience to the new team.
Seasoned veteran Brian Scott will be the crew chief, and it will be the second time the two have been paired together: Scott was Busch’s crew chief at SHR throughout the 2018 season.
Whether any of these new teams will ultimately live up to their seeming potential to make a mark in the sport and stamp themselves into the NASCAR history books, remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: these new teams are bound to shake up the NASCAR racing landscape in some way or another.
2022, after the win of Austin Cindric in the Daytona 500 that year seems to be the season for change.
- A new car
- New Drivers
- New Teams
The question remains if this perfect storm of change will, at the end of the season, result in a new team champion.